Mental health projects in spotlight

MENTAL health services in Suffolk are under the spotlight today as consultation begins on a series of cost-cutting measures designed to help the county's cash-strapped health service.

MENTAL health services in Suffolk are under the spotlight today as consultation begins on a series of cost-cutting measures designed to help the county's cash-strapped health service.

Five projects used by mental health patients in Suffolk are under scrutiny as health officials explore the future of their funding.

The Hollies training project, the Body Matters therapy centre and the social centre at St Clements Hospital are all under review, along with two clubhouses – Bridge House in Ipswich and Old Fox House in Stowmarket which help rehabilitate people who suffer with mental health problems.

With Suffolk's health system £11m in the red, the Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust is required to contribute to its financial recovery plans by looking at ways they can streamline their services.


You may also want to watch:


The paper describes the services as "on the boundary of health and social care" and raises concerns over whether NHS money, which is in short supply, should be used for projects such as these.

A number of proposals for the future of the five projects have been put forward and a paper containing these has been sent out for public consultation.

Most Read

The Hollies training centre allows patients to experience life in the workplace and has been described as a "much-needed first step between the mental health system and the world of work".

The future of the St Clements social centre also hangs in the balance with the Trust's preferred option being to close it and the trust is also looking at how Body Matters could be more closely linked with physiotherapy services.

The possibility of funding from social care and/or the voluntary sector is being investigated for all five projects.

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council's social services department said: "The council invests significantly in many different services for people with mental health issues, and will continue to do so as resources allow."

Martin Royal, director of strategy and partnerships for the Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, said: "All of these schemes have got a place and a role, it's just a case of getting it right so we can provide the most efficient services."

Public meetings will be held across the county throughout October to gather public opinion on the proposals.

Will the proposed changes to these services affect you? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter